The Association of Egyptian Female Lawyers (AEFL) calls the Egyptian Parliament to rapidly issue the law that criminalizes child marriage. AEFL denounces the Parliament’s failure to discuss and issue a national legislation including the criminalization of girls’ marriage, although many CSOs and Parliament’s members have submitted drafts laws on the issue.
The Egyptian President held the women’s honor celebration last March in which he gave instructions to the Parliament to rapidly take steps to issue the law banning marriage of underage girls and children. Moreover, the President has stressed the importance of women’s rights and the importance of their role in society.
Rabha Fathy, lawyer and chairperson of the Association of the Egyptian Female Lawyers, has declared that AEFL previously prepared a draft law which criminalizes child marriage in participation with NGOs’ network and with effective participation of various members of the Egyptian Parliament. There was a social dialogue about this draft law during a specialized experts’ workshop which was attended by more than 20 members of the Parliament and Senate, in addition to representatives from the National Council for Women and the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood, many civil society leaders and the head of marriage officials. Fathy added that in 2016, 40% of marriage cases in Egypt were of children, and among them there are 12000 divorced female children and 1000 widows.
The draft law consists of 11 articles in addition to an explanatory note. The penalties will impact all those who participate in the marriage procedures and will be increased in case that the marriage took place under encouraging or intimidating children’s circumstances. Furthermore, the draft law includes the determination of a transitional period of 6 months to codify or legalize the conditions of those who already got married under 18 years old and before the issuance and enforcement of the law. The law also states that those who report this crime before it takes place are exempted from punishment.
This draft law comes within the context of the project "Raising Awareness of Society Regarding the Risks of Early Marriage" which is implemented in cooperation with Equality Now – Lebanon. AEFL calls for mobilizing all social efforts and State’s institutions to combat this phenomenon and raise social awareness regarding the risk of early marriage in line with what has been included in the National Strategy for Human Rights.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.